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This is an international website intended to remain accessible to as many people as possible. The opinions expressed here are those of the individual posters who remain solely responsible for the content of their messages.
The use of good judgement during the discussion of controversial issues would be greatly appreciated.

News Reports for January 11, 2013

by: NewsDiary

Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 19:58:05 PM EST


Reminder: Please do not post whole articles, just snippets and links, and do not post articles from the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Thanks!

India
• Haryana and Punjab: Two die due to swine flu in Chandigarh (Link)

Indonesia
• 90 Percent Poultry in Bird Flu Tasikmalaya (translated) (Link)

Mexico
• Bird flu confirmed in Mexico (Link)

United States
• Deaths increase, misery mounts as flu sweeps nation (Link)
• US Experiences Worst Flu Season in 10 Years (Link)
• US faces shortages of flu vaccine, Tamiflu treatment (Link)
• Questions and Answers: Flu season hits U.S. (Link)
• MA: Medical offices in area flooded with requests for flu vaccines (Link)
• NM: Flu Spreading Across New Mexico (Link)
• NY & NJ: Flu spreading in N.Y., N.J., but it is under control (Link)
• OK: Flu Outbreak Causes Oklahoma School District to Cancel Classes (Link)
• OR: Is the worst of the flu season about to be over? (Link)
• SC: 22 have died from flu in South Carolina (Link)

Research
• Who is most susceptible to the flu virus? (Link)

General
• CIDRAP: WHO to convene Jan 14-15 meeting on novel coronavirus (Link)
• Acetaminophen overdose a danger during flu season (Link)
• Is it flu or just a cold? Diagnosis can be difficult (Link)

Commentary
• Recombinomics: US Week 1 P&I Death Rate Crosses Epidemic Threshold (Link)
• Editorial: The 2012-13 viruses are spreading rapidly (Link)
• Current Flu Vaccine About 60 Percent Effective, Marshfield Clinic, Lead Researcher Commentary (Link)


• H (Link)

NewsDiary :: News Reports for January 11, 2013

News for January 10, 2013 is here.


Thanks to all of the newshounds!
Special thanks to the newshound volunteers who translate international stories - thanks for keeping us all informed!

Other useful links:
WHO A(H1N1) Site
WHO H5N1 human case totals, last updated December 17, 2012
Charts and Graphs on H5N1 from WHO
Google Flu Trends
CDC Weekly Influenza Summary
Map of seasonal influenza in the U.S.
CIDPC (Canada) Weekly FluWatch
UK RCGP Weekly Data on Communicable and Respiratory Diseases
Flu Wiki

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Bird flu confirmed in Mexico
An outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza was confirmed on 8 January at two egg-producing farms in the Mexican state of Aguascalientes.

Authorities said that the strain of H7N3 avian influenza was 99% similar to the outbreak in June last year in the nearby state of Jalisco.

(Snip)

(Snip) 284,000 birds at the two layer farms were culled, and six million vaccines would be distributed in the area, which houses seven poultry farms. http://www.fwi.co.uk/Articles/...

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown

     


US: Deaths increase, misery mounts as flu sweeps nation
As the flu sweeps the USA, the death toll climbs daily and offices and classrooms face empty chairs while hospital emergency departments struggle with overflow crowds.

By Thursday, there were 23 flu deaths in Minnesota, raising the state's total to 27 flu-related deaths reported so far this season. Other states reporting deaths included Pennsylvania at 22; Massachusetts, 18; Oklahoma, eight; and Illinois, six. Nine nursing home residents have died in New York. Two children in Florida were among 18 pediatric deaths nationwide.

The annual influenza death toll varies steeply -- from fewer than 3,000 to nearly 49,000 -- according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The center will release this season's mortality numbers on Friday.

But it appears the speed of the flu's spread this winter "has been pretty much unparalleled," said one physician on the flu front lines, John Hick, an emergency physician at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis.

He thinks uptick in Hennepin's flu cases came after people returned from holiday travel and children returned to school, where they might have been exposed. Worse may be coming. "My general sense is that we have not peaked. We've probably got a few weeks to go on this," Hick said.

So far this season 42 states have reported widespread levels of the illness with the hard-hit areas in the East, South and Midwest, said Michael Jhung with CDC's influenza division. The West and Southwest have had very little flu. Continued: http://www.usatoday.com/story/...

(Note: The county I live in has just recorded it's first death and the local hospital emergency room has been slammed with flu patients.)

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown

     


US Experiences Worst Flu Season in 10 Years
http://www.voanews.com/content...

VOA News
January 10, 2013
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Preventionsays this is the worst flu season in the United States in 10 years, and the epidemic has not yet hit its peak.

Widespread flu is reported in 44 states, and the Centers for Disease Control says the percentage of people going to the hospital for treatment of flu symptoms has doubled in the past month. In some regions, hospitals are having to turn flu patients away.

The mayor of Boston declared a public health emergency Wednesday, with 10 times more cases reported than last year in the northeastern U.S. city.

U.S. health authorities say the flu arrived a month earlier than usual this year, in November, and the most prevalent flu strain - H3N2 - has a reputation for causing fairly severe illness, especially in the elderly.
[Continued]


US faces shortages of flu vaccine, Tamiflu treatment
One of the worst US flu seasons in a decade has created shortages of vaccine and the Tamiflu treatment for children, raising the prospect that people considered at high risk of getting the flu might not get the protection they need.

Though shortages are not unusual, the flu's early arrival and this year's especially nasty strain mean the situation could worsen.

"People who haven't been vaccinated and want to get the vaccine may have to look in several places for it," said Tom Skinner, a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.

Sanofi SA, the largest flu vaccine provider in the United States, said on Thursday it had sold out of four of the six different dosages of Fluzone seasonal flu vaccine due to unanticipated demand. The vaccine is made in different sized vials and pre-filled syringes.

"At this point we are not able to make any more vaccine because we are gearing up for next year's vaccine," said Michael Szumera, a spokesman for Sanofi. Because flu strains mutate, vaccine makers must reformulate seasonal flu vaccine every year. Continued: http://www.financialexpress.co...  

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown

     


US: Medical offices in area flooded with requests for flu vaccines (Massachusetts)
Doctor's offices and clinics were inundated with calls from patients Thursday seeking flu shots, a day after Boston ­declared a health emergency in response to a rising number of flu cases. Health officials said there is an ample supply of vaccine.

At Harvard Vanguard, Dr. Benjamin Kruskal, infectious disease chief, said the large medical group's "phones were ringing off the hook" with ­patients seeking vaccinations, while Brigham and Women's Hospital's outpatient primary care practices experienced about a 10 percent rise in ­patients requesting immunization.

About 60 patients were vaccinated by primary-care practices affiliated with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center on Thursday, about twice the typical number during the flu season.

"We don't have a vaccination shortage, nor do we expect one, though there may possibly be a Tamiflu shortage," said Beth ­Israel spokeswoman Kelly ­Lawman. Continued: http://bostonglobe.com/lifesty...

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown

     


India: Two die due to swine flu in Chandigarh (Haryana and Punjab)
Chandigarh: Swine flu has claimed two lives as more cases are pouring in the hospitals here, officials said.

(Snip) Amrik Singh, hailing from Kartarpur in Punjab, died at the PGIMER here this week, another patient Bansi from Karnal in Haryana also succumbed to the disease at the hospital yesterday.

Four other patients from neighbouring states, including Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, with the symptoms of HINI influenza, have been admitted to the hospitals here during the past few days. Continued: http://daily.bhaskar.com/artic...  

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown

     


CIDRAP: WHO to convene Jan 14-15 meeting on novel coronavirus
The World Health Organization (WHO) will convene a technical meeting early next week about the novel human coronavirus that has been confirmed in nine cases in recent months, including five fatalities. "WHO has organized a technical consultative meeting to take place at the WHO Regional Office in Cairo from 14 to 15 January 2013 on the novel human coronavirus. The meeting will bring together representatives of the three countries already affected, in addition to key partners and WHO collaborating centres involved in managing this public health issue, together with WHO experts," (Snip) Cases so far have been in patients from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Jordan. Continued: http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidr...

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown

     


Flu spreading in N.Y., N.J., but it is under control
January 10, 2013

New York and New Jersey - which contain some of the nation's most congested areas - the flu has spread earlier and faster than any time in the past decade. But there was little panic Thursday and few cases of people at hospitals, schools or other institutions being urged to wear masks.

Every county in New Jersey is experiencing either a "high" or "moderate" level of activity, according to the state department of health. On Monday, St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center inPatersontreated a record number of patients - 514 compared with about 420 it normally sees, according to figures released by Mark Rosenberg, chairman of emergency medicine. The hospital admitted 90 patients, a 50% increase over the usual number.

snip

The city does not plan to declare an emergency, in part because it might drive people who don't need emergency care to emergency rooms.

snip

During last year's flu season, 4,400 cases were reported in the state. So far this season, there have been more than 15,000. Hospitalizations are up 169% from the same period last year.

Hospitals said flu cases among their patients were up 55% over the last week in December.

continued

http://www.usatoday.com/story/...

United we stand: Divided we fall
www.flunewsnetwork.com


so - they're saying they can't handle an emergency?
This disturbs me:

The city does not plan to declare an emergency, in part because it might drive people who don't need emergency care to emergency rooms.

It sounds to me like they won't declare an emergency because they're afraid they couldn't handle it! If there is one, and they won't call it one - what does that say for their moral sense?  


[ Parent ]
90 Percent Poultry in Bird Flu Tasikmalaya
January 11, 2013
http://www.tribunnews.com/2013...
Tasikmalaya, Indonesia: The deaths ducks with the positive H5NI virus or bird flu continues to spread in some regions of the Tasikmalaya district.  Earlier, hundreds of ducks there were positive for bird flu in only two districts,  namely Sukaratu and Cisayong.  Now bird flu has struck three other districts, namely Singaparna, Cigalontang and Cineam.  However, so far the virus has not been known to attack humans.

Head of Veterinary Public Health Department of Animal Husbandry, Fisheries and Maritime & H Tasikmalaya District Idik Abdulah said indications of poultry deaths due to bird flu were almost ninety percent positive.  It was after the tests in Cikole, London laboratory a few days ago.

"So the samples that have been tested by us on site tested positive for H5NI and further investigated in the laboratory. This is a red light, the result is 90 percent positive for bird flu suspect," said Idik, Friday (11/01/2013) morning.

Added Idik, they have taken preventive measures to suppress the dissemination of the virus now just by giving vaccination to poultry.  However, they did find problems because the vaccine that was used is for a type of chicken.  While avian bird flu (is attacking?) most types of ducks.

"So we'll do this vaccine trial first to five hundred to a thousand tails in the sample. You see, we received the vaccine in the province.  Also the number (of vaccines) is only 10 percent of the duck population  in Tasikmalaya district," said Idik.

During this time, the population of birds in the district Tasikmalaya reached 200,000 individuals.  While the number of vaccines, 20,000 doses, received only 10 percent.

"The number of deaths from bird flu has reached two thousand of the total population.  So in addition to the vaccine, we also prevent the spread with a few steps, for example, by preventing traffic in the pet trade, especially for breeders.  Instead for the interim they have been asked not to release their ducks from the cages.  The problem is the fear that the virus will continue to spread to other birds, because in some areas the virus has also spread to cattle and quail," said Idik.



"I am opposed to any form of tyranny over the mind of man."  Thomas Jefferson


US Week 1 P&I Death Rate Crosses Epidemic Threshold
Recombinomics Commentary

Today's CDC FluView (week 1) will show that the Pneumonia and Influenza (P&I) death rate for the United States (7.3%) will cross the epidemic threshold, which is not unexpected.  Last week (week 52) the rate of 7.0% was just below the threshold of 7.1%, and the flu epidemic, particularly the cases due to H3N2, was starting to take off in the northern portion of the country.  

Deaths are a trailing indicator and numbers reported for week 1 were striking in several states.  In Pennsylvania there were 3 deaths in week 52, bring the season's total to 4, but in week 1 there were 18 more deaths.  Similarly in Minnesota the seasonal total at the end of week 52 was also 4, but there were 23 more deaths in week 1, once again signaling that the spike in cases seen in late December was translating to a spike in deaths (and hospitalizations) in early 2013.

The above state reports are for lab confirmed cases, which represent a tiny fraction of the total deaths.  This season H3N2 is dominating, and the elderly are targeted, leading to significant outbreaks in long term care facilities.  In most cases the patients are not tested for flu and therefore not included in the reports of confirmed hospitalizations or deaths.  However, the P&I total is based on patients who have influenza or pneumonia indicated on death certificates, which are used to determine a rate based on the total number of death certificates from the 122 largest cities in the United States.

The totals for the end and beginning of the calendar year may be impacted by holidays. So the number of P&I and total deaths are somewhat reduced due to reporting delays.  However, the large spike in lab confirmed hospitalizations and deaths indicate a rate above the epidemic threshold will also be seen in the upcoming weeks (Snip).

In addition to the P&I rate and the total number of confirmed deaths, the death of adolescents (children under the age of 18) is also tallied.

(Snip)  

Today's FluView will have 2 additional cases (from Kansas and Texas) to bring the season total to 20, but the number of media or state lab reported cases is already at least 33, reflecting the lag as well as the lack of lab confirmation (although the vast majority of the 13 cases not included in the week 1 report are lab confirmed and reported by the state labs. http://www.recombinomics.com/N...  

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown

     


Acetaminophen overdose a danger during flu season
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-20...

The flu is affecting more people than anticipated this season, and many sufferers are scouting drugstore isles in search of remedies to help combat the illness. Not all may know, however, that there's one common medication found in many of these drugs that when overused, may lead to liver damage, major health problems or even death.

Acetaminophen is a medication used to treat mild to moderate pain from headaches, muscle aches, menstrual periods, colds and sore throats, toothaches, backaches, and also can treat reactions to vaccinations and fever. According to the Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition (AAC), (Snip) it is the most common drug ingredient in America and found in more than 600 different medications.

"It's safe as long as you take it at the right dose," Dr. Donald Gardenier, an assistant professor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine (Snip). "It's easy to take extra because its hidden in so many medications."

The AAC's Know Your Dose project is attempting to make the public aware of these overdose dangers. People should not exceed 4,000 mg of acetaminophen in one day, according to the National Institutes of Health. Taking too much acetaminophen can cause liver damage serious enough to necessitate a liver transplant or cause death, and it is the No. 1 drug associated with liver injury (Snip) Because liver damage symptoms include nausea and vomiting, people might mistake them for additional flu symptoms during this time of year (Snip).

Parents should make sure medication directions are followed, especially for children between 2 through 11, and acetaminophen should never be taken by kids 2 and younger.

"Make sure that they aren't taking two different ones at the same time," (Snip). "If your child is small, you can't give a small child an adult dose. Always check with your pediatric provider."

(Snip) drinking three or more alcoholic beverages per day puts people at an additional risk of overdose, because alcohol weakens the liver. Individuals who have liver diseases such as hepatitis C are also at an increased risk for complications.

The Know Your Dose campaign offers three easy ways to prevent an acetaminophen overdose.

First, always read and follow the label. Taking more than the recommended dose or using a different measuring system -- for example, a spoon instead of the provided measuring cup -- can be dangerous.

Second, check to see if your medications contain acetaminophen. Over-the-counter medications contain the word "acetaminophen" on the front of the package or bottle and in the active ingredient section.

Examples of popular OTC medications that contain acetaminophen are Alka-Seltzer Plus Liquid Gels, Benadryl, Dimetapp, Excedrin, Sudafed, Theraflu, Tylenol, Vicks, Aizcam and Dayquil and Nyquil...... (Snip).

For prescription drugs, acetaminophen is occasionally abbreviated as APAP, AC, Acetaminophn, Acetaminoph, Acetaminop, Acetamin, or Acetam.

Third, never take two or more medications that both contain acetaminophen. It puts you at high risk for a potential overdose. (Snip) check with a medical professional, especially your pharmacist. Continued:
 


This article is packed with important information that should be more widely disseminated.
The dangers of exceeding the recommended dosage of acetaminophen aren't universally known. I urge you to read this article in its entirety and share it with those you care about. I worry particularly about children, whose small bodies require meticulously accurate doses of acetaminophen.As the article states, acetaminophen is "the most common drug ingredient in America and found in more than 600 different medications."

[ Parent ]
I agree, very important issue
Which is one of the reasons I never buy anything other than acetaminophen in tablet form rather than potions made up of a a variety of drugs.

It's worth noting that some of the painkiller PLUS tablets include ibuprofen too. If you're staggering the two types of painkillers it's important to know that you've had a dose of ibuprofen with what you might have thought was pure acetaminophen.

Another thing to consider is your mental capacity during a bad flu attack. It's hard to keep track of how many you've taken and how long ago when you're that ill. Would be worth writing time, day, drug and dose on a bit of paper. It can work both ways. Sometimes you can hold off taking a pill because you can't remember if it's safe.  


[ Parent ]
Excellent Advice - I hope everyone follows it
Any time I'm sick (or on heavy duty pain medicine) I tape a piece of paper to the refrigerator and write down the time and amount of every medication I take.  Many times I've gotten confused and without that list would have either taken too much or gone without a dose for hours.  

[ Parent ]
The 2012-13 viruses are spreading rapidly
http://www.registerguard.com/w...

EDITORIAL: Get a flu shot - now

Published: January 11, 2013 12:00AM,Today
(SNIP)
It's not too late to get a flu shot. Shots are available beginning in late summer or early fall and provide protection through the following spring. They're recommended for everyone age 6 months and older. Higher doses are available for those 65 and older, who need greater protection.

Don't get a flu shot if you're allergic to eggs, have a history of severe reactions to flu shots or have had Guillain-Barre syndrome.

In addition to vaccination, the best protection against the flu is frequent hand washing with soap and water and using hand sanitizers when washing isn't available. Also, always cover coughs and sneezes and promptly dispose of soiled tissues.

It takes two weeks after a vaccination for the body to develop the antibodies needed to protect against the flu, so infection is still possible during that time. People who catch the flu can infect others the day before symptoms appear and for up to a week after symptoms appear.

It's OK to get a flu shot if you have a cold or some other mild illness - but if you have a fever, wait for it to pass before getting vaccinated.

Flu shots can produce mild reactions - soreness at the injection site, headaches, a slight fever - but can't cause the flu because the viruses used to make the vaccine are dead.

Severe flu shot reactions - difficulty breathing, facial swelling, hoarseness, dizziness, a high fever - should be reported to medical authorities immediately if they occur. As an alternative to needles, nasal spray vaccinations are available for healthy people between the ages of 2 and 49, except pregnant women.

[SNIP]
The bottom line is, there are few good reasons not to get a flu shot. And protecting yourself also helps protect the community.


Current Flu Vaccine About 60 Percent Effective, Marshfield Clinic, Lead Researcher Commentary
MARSHFIELD, Wis., Jan. 11, 2013 -- Influenza has hit the U.S. hard this winter, but early estimates show the vaccine significantly reduces the risk of getting the flu, according to a national report released today.

The vaccine, which protects against two influenza A and one influenza B virus strains, is 62 percent effective so far this season, according to a report from the U.S. Flu Vaccine Effectiveness Network, (Snip). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) supports the network.

"The take home message is that the flu vaccine is moderately effective this year, and people who are vaccinated have about a 60 percent lower risk of getting the flu compared to someone who is not vaccinated. It's a safe vaccine that can help prevent the flu and its complications in both children and adults," said Dr. Edward Belongia , an epidemiologist and a lead researcher on the report. (Snip). The effectiveness of the flu vaccine can vary from year to year due to changes in the flu viruses and vaccine components.

The estimated effectiveness against influenza A was 55 percent and against influenza B it was 70 percent effective, the report said. The final effectiveness estimates may vary from the early-season report. The early vaccine effectiveness in 2013 is similar to the level of effectiveness reported in other recent flu seasons, and in clinical trials of flu vaccines.

The rate of influenza cases began to increase rapidly in December, marking the flu season's earliest start in a decade, according to the CDC. The predominant type of flu circulating in the U.S. is H3N2 influenza A virus (Snip). Seasons dominated by the H3N2 strain tend to be more severe, with a greater number of hospitalizations and deaths (Snip).

"This is the most severe flu season we've seen in Wisconsin since 2008, when the H3N2 strain was also common," Belongia said. (Snip) Although it takes about two weeks to be fully protected, the flu season began early and likely will continue for weeks. Getting vaccinated now can provide additional protection if the season continues through February and into March.
(Snip)
For the report, researchers looked at data from 1,155 children and adults who had acute respiratory infections between Dec. 3 and Jan. 2. In Marshfield, testing began in mid-December, and more than 500 patients have been enrolled. About 50 percent of those tested were positive for one of the flu viruses.

There have been multiple reports of flu cases in people who were vaccinated this year. According to Belongia, it's not uncommon to see flu cases in vaccinated people, and physicians should not base their treatment decisions on whether a person has been vaccinated. The CDC recommends initiating antiviral treatment as soon as possible for people who are seriously ill with influenza or at high risk for complications.

"While the flu vaccine is the best intervention we have at this time, there is a need for more research to develop a new generation of influenza vaccines with even higher and longer-lasting protection," Belongia said.
(Big Snip)

The complete report will be available at www.cdc.gov.

http://www.prnewswire.com/news...

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown

     


Is it flu or just a cold? Diagnosis can be difficult
http://www.usatoday.com/story/...

Anita Manning, Special for USA TODAY
12:53p.m. EST January 11, 2013

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
• Fever, headaches, fatigue are some of flu's hallmarks
• Flu symptoms can come on rapidly, within three to six hours
• Colds are more likely to include runny nose, sore throat and sneezing
(SNIP)
Whenever it hits, a bad cold can be as miserable as a mild-to-medium case of flu, says Edward Janoff, professor of medicine at the University of Colorado. "Both colds and flu can range from no symptoms at all to really sick," he says. Most colds are caused by viruses that attack the upper respiratory system, causing the symptoms we know and hate, such as sneezing, coughing and runny nose. "But the consequences of flu are worse."

Influenza viruses may affect the upper respiratory tract, causing symptoms that come on suddenly, but they also can go deep into the lungs, causing breathing difficulty, pneumonia or bronchitis. "A bad case of influenza is much worse than a bad cold," he says. "A bad influenza can kill you, and a bad cold won't."

IS IT A COLD OR THE FLU?

The common cold and flu are caused by different viruses but can have some similar symptoms, making them tough to tell apart. In general, the flu is worse and symptoms are more intense.

Colds:Typical symptoms include stuffy or runny nose, sore throat and sneezing. Coughs are hacking and productive. It's unusual to have fever, chills, headaches and body aches; if present, those symptoms will be mild.

Flu:Fever is usually present, along with chills, headache and moderate-to-severe body aches and tiredness. Symptoms can come on rapidly, within three to six hours. Coughs are dry and unproductive, and sore throats are less common.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Roche, maker of Tamiflu


Who is most susceptible to the flu virus?
http://www.foxnews.com/health/...

Published January 11, 2013

A group of researchers at Northwestern Hospital are researching why some people are more susceptible to getting the flu virus. If that's how you're feeling, Dr. Pedro Avila and his research team at Northwestern Hospital would like to see you before influenza really sets in and takes over your body.

"A stuffy nose, you could have some mucus in your nose. And then, in addition to that, people can have a fever, and also, body aches," Dr. Avila says. "That's when we are looking at the response--the airway response. Like the upper airway, the nose and lung response to the flu to see what difference that makes and if you have the severe flu or mild flu."

Dr. Avila says the first seven days of becoming ill are critical. They take vitals like height and weight and cultures are done on the patient's nose and throat. They've been studying different influenza strains since 2009 when patients were being treated for H1N1. Avila says the flu bug biting now is much worse. Seniors 65 and older and children under 5 years of age are most susceptible to catching a mild or severe case.

"The kids, younger than 5 years of age, their immune system are still developing, whereas those who are 65 years or older, the immune system is kinda waning down and responds very well to infections," Dr. Avila explains. Dr. Avila says research also shows that people with diabetes or chronic heart disease are also at risk and where we live is proving to be a major factor with this strain as well. A state of emergency has been called in Boston after 18 flu-related deaths were reported there.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/...


5 ways to protect your child in flu season
http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/10/...

By Dr. Jennifer Shu, Special to CNN
updated 10:31 AM EST, Fri January 11, 2013

Editor's note: Dr. Jennifer Shu, CNNHealth's Living Well expert doctor, is a practicing pediatrician and mother of two.

(CNN) -- If you go to a doctor's office or hospital any time soon, you may encounter an uncommonly long wait.. This year's flu season started earlier, and health officials say it is more widespread and more severe than usual.
To help prevent your child from having to seek care for influenza or a similar illness, here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Make sure your child gets this season's flu vaccine.
[Snip]

2. Practice good cough etiquette and social distancing.
Flu germs can spread up to 6 feet through coughs and sneezes, so teach children to cover their mouth and nose
[Snip] Keep sick children in their own room, or if the rest of the family is already sick, "quarantine" children without symptoms to keep them away from the flu virus. If flu is hitting your community hard, consider avoiding large crowds (such as going to movies or out to dinner) until things settle down.

3. Keep hands and shared objects/surfaces clean.
[Snip] Teach kids to their wash hands for at least 20 seconds -- or about the time it takes to sing the "Happy Birthday" song. Flu viruses can live up to 8 hours on surfaces, so try to remove germs from toys, handles, counters, tables, phones, TV remotes, etc. using hot soapy water or a cleaning product that removes influenza. The EPA has a list of disinfectants that are effective against the flu.

4. Stay healthy.
[Snip]good nutrition, moderate exercise and adequate rest help optimize the immune system.

5. For kids with flu, treat the symptoms and keep them comfortable.
Home remedies should include rest and plenty of fluids. Offer your child honey for the cough (for kids over 1 year, it's a good cough suppressant without potential side effects), medicated chest rubs for cough/congestion, a humidifier/vaporizer, and saline nose drops.

Fever reducers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin) can help, but remember to avoid aspirin, which can cause a serious illness called Reye Syndrome in children with a viral illness.

An antiviral medicine like Tamiflu or Relenza may be prescribed for certain patients within the first 48 hours of the illness; the medication can shorten the symptoms and severity of the flu as well as the child's contagiousness.
Most healthy kids over 2 years old get better within a few days without any antiviral medicine. Just be sure to watch out for worsening fever or cough, as this may be a sign of a complication such as pneumonia.


US: Flu Outbreak Causes Oklahoma School District to Cancel Classes
The flu outbreak that is sweeping the nation has caused one school district in Oklahoma to cancel classes as 25 percent of the student body is ill with the flu. On Thursday, the Kiefer public school district announced they would cancel today's classes to give students the weekend to rest as nearly 150 of the 650 student-body are suffering from the flu.

(Snip)

Eight people have died in Oklahoma since Sept. 30, according to the Oklahoma Department of Health. The state's health department says that 92 new patients were admitted to hospitals between Jan. 2 to Jan. 8.

The fight against the flu has quickly become an uphill battle for doctors across the U.S. Doctors and hospitals are running low on flu shots as they cannot keep up with the demand. More than 128 million vaccine doses have been distributed nationwide (Snip). "This is a true national shortage," Randy Tartacoff, a doctor at Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck, N.J., told ABC News. "Today, we could be getting 30 doses in and that could be sufficient, but that can be gone in 30 minutes," Cheryl Fattibene, a nurse at CVS Minutes Clinic in Bryn Mawr, Pa., said.

Pharmacists are also struggling to fill prescription orders. "Right now we're getting 24 boxes of Tamiflu, but we're getting 40 or 50 prescriptions," said Andy Komuves, a pharmacist in Dallas.

But those lucky enough to have received a flu shot are not immune to the outbreak. Michael Mayle got a flu and pneumonia shot, but both precautions didn't stop him from making a trip to a Cleveland clinic. "I never had to strain that hard to breathe before. I was pretty close to death," he said.

Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston were forced to go on Amber Alert Thursday, forcing an all hands on deck situation as flu patients flooded the emergency room. "...People who are going off shift will not be allowed to go home until after we've completely evaluated what we need," Dr. Ron Wells said. Wells said he has never seen an outbreak as severe as this during his 19-year career.

(Snip)

On Wednesday, Boston declared a public health emergency, with the city's hospitals counting about 1,500 emergency room visits since December by people with flu-like symptoms. The flu is being blamed for at least 18 deaths in Massachusetts.

**Note: I recommend watching the video that is with this article. The link is here:  http://abcnews.go.com/Health/f...  

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown

     


Carol is right; watch the video!
The video includes an interview with a doctor that says that the maximum daily adult dosage for acetaminophen has been lowered from 4,000 to 3,000 mg of acetaminophen in one day. This is not in the article!

[ Parent ]
Questions and Answers: Flu season hits U.S.
http://www.usatoday.com/story/...

Dan Vergano, USA TODAY6:23p.m. EST January 10, 2013

Too late to get that flu shot? Go get it, public health officials say.
The flu season is off to a roaring start with a bug that looks "particularly severe," according to the Food and Drug Administration. [SNIP]

Q: What are the symptoms?
A: Misery, basically. Flu comes on suddenly, accompanied by fever and chills, coughing, sore throats, muscle aches, fatigue and headaches. Nausea and diarrhea are more common in children. A bad cold makes daily life rotten, but a bad flu makes it really miserable.

Q: Why is it so bad this year?
A: Flu is unpredictable, and its year-to-year spread depends on the strain of the virus, how well vaccinations match the bug (and how many people get vaccinated) and chance. [SNIP]

Q: Who is most at risk from the flu?
A: Most cases of the flu are mild and resolve within two weeks. The elderly are the most likely to die from flu cases that cause severe complications, such as pneumonia. Flu can also trigger severe asthma attacks and worsen chronic heart disease. Even healthy teenagers and young adults can die from complications of the flu, although young children and people with compromised immune systems face a much higher risk. Kids or teens receiving long-term aspirin therapy for blood vessel inflammation also are at higher risk of complications, such as Reye's syndrome, which causes swelling of the brain and liver, from the flu.


Flu Spreading Across New Mexico
January 11, 2013
http://www.bizjournals.com/alb...
New Mexico has joined 40 other states where the flu is now "widespread" according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and economists worry that could aversely affect businesses' first-quarter growth.  The CDC has labeled the 2013 flu season as one of the worst in the last 10 years.  The New Mexico Department of Health said that during the week ending Dec. 29, a total of 6,760 patient visits were reported at sites monitored to check on public health. Of those, 482 (7.1%) were identified as visits for flu symptoms. That was up from 3 percent of those visiting the sites during the previous week. New numbers were expected to be released later today.  So far, 29 states are reporting high or "severe" levels of the flu.
(more)

"I am opposed to any form of tyranny over the mind of man."  Thomas Jefferson

Bronco Bill, it's Friday joke time!
Your giggles are here: http://www.newfluwiki2.com/dia...

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown

     


22 have died from flu in South Carolina
Friday, Jan. 11, 2013

COLUMBIA, S.C. - State health officials say at least 22 people have died from influenza in South Carolina since the fall.

That compares with a single death in the last flu season.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control says three people have died in Greenville and Lexington counties. There have been two deaths in Aiken, Oconee, Richland and York counties.

Nineteen of the deaths have involved people at least age 65. Two of the victims were between 50 and 64 and one was a 4-year-old.

Doctors say a flu shot is the best defense from the illness. The anti-viral drug Tamiflu can lessen the effects of flu if given when symptoms begin

http://www.thestate.com/2013/0...

United we stand: Divided we fall
www.flunewsnetwork.com


OR: Is the worst of the flu season about to be over?
http://www.katu.com/news/local...

NEW YORK (AP) - Flu is more widespread across the nation, but the number of hard-hit states has declined, health officials said Friday.

Flu season started early this winter, and includes a strain that tends to make people sicker. Health officials have forecast a potentially bad flu season, following last year's unusually mild one. The latest numbers, however, hint that the flu season may already have peaked in some spots.

Flu was widespread in 47 states last week, up from 41 the week before, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday. Many cases may be mild. The only states without widespread flu are California, Mississippi and Hawaii.

The hardest hit states fell to 24 from 29, with large numbers of people getting treated for flu-like illness. Dropped off that list were Florida, Arkansas and South Carolina in the South, the first region hit this flu season.

[snip]

Nationally, 20 children have died from the flu. There is no running tally of adult deaths, but the CDC estimates that the flu kills about 24,000 people in an average year.

[snip]

On Friday, CDC officials said a recent study of more than 1,100 people has concluded the current flu vaccine is 62 percent effective. That means the average vaccinated person is 62 percent less likely to get a case of flu that's bad enough to require a trip to the doctor, compared to people who don't get the vaccine.

That's in line with how effective the vaccine has been in other years.

The flu vaccine is reformulated annually, and officials say this year's version is a good match to the viruses going around.

[snip]

Comment: 62 percent effective is about average?? Why hasn't that been mentioned when everyone pushes us to get vaccinated?? Methinks that particular statistic doesn't get a whole lotta press. Oh - and this is a newspaper that hadn't mentioned flu yet - sounds like they're trying to ignore or minimize it.


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